Pride and Prejudice
Can you believe it's been 200 years? I can. The first time I read Pride and Prejudice I was rather young and had no real understanding of it. I liked it though, because who doesn't like Lizzy and Mr. Darcy?
But a few years back I reread it and it just resonated.
It was around the time my parents started fretting about the fact that I'm still single. I realised, unfortunately, that there were a lot of similarities between the book and my life, and it pissed me off. I still like the book, but having a life similar to Pride and Prejudice is no fun unless you have someone like Mr. Darcy attached to you. Otherwise it's just a sucky story with no happy ending in sight.
See, the Chinese have rather weird expectations when it comes to relationships and marriage. My parents aren't exactly antiquated, but you will not believe how similar my mother is to Mrs. Bennet. I'll say the latter is a lot more mean-spirited, but occasionally my mom makes weird statements like “maybe you're still single because you lack appeal” or “you should attend the party; you might meet people” and I'm reminded that they're similar enough to cause consternation.
My father – and you may choose not to believe me, but I'm not lying – is constantly bemused like Mr. Bennet. There's something particularly similar between the two of them, but it's not something I'd like to discuss.
We're not rich (I was introduced to someone pretty loaded once, and my mom said, “we're lucky they're interested”), I have two sisters (thankfully neither of them is Kitty or Lydia or Mary), and we belong to a culture antiquated enough to be rather similar to the novel's environment. It's not fun.
But enough about that.
More than the similarities to my own life, I think what makes the book so well-loved is Austen's ability to create really funny stories. She has mastered the comedy of errors, pointing out the oddities of people who try so hard to be civilised.
200 years later, her words still ring true. There are still people like Mrs. Bennet, condescending bitches like Lady Catherine, catty women like Miss Bingley, and awful toads like Mr. Collins.
Horrible truth, you know, but at least that gives us hope that 200 years after, there might still be a Mr. Darcy somewhere out there.